I took one look at the covers of this series by Francine Rivers, and I thought, “Finally! An adult romance that I won’t feel guilty or embarrassed about reading!” XD And I was not disappointed!
The Mark of the Lion series follows Hadassah, a Jewish slave girl, for the first two books and then Atretes, a former gladiator, for the last volume. Hadassah’s journey takes her from the fall of Jerusalem to Rome, where she eventually comes to love the son of the family she serves and shares her faith with them in a time of cultural corruption. Atretes’ story travels from Rome to his homeland of Germania as he reclaims his son and discovers Christ along the way. Both are wonderful historical romances, with plenty of (clean!) passion and a strong emphasis on the Christian faith.
There was so much I loved about these books! I found myself involved with the characters and their struggles and was constantly looking for more time to read :-D. I loved seeing the invisible hand of God in the choices and actions of others that led Hadassah to where she ended up. I loved seeing the calm acceptance of fate in the believers (Hadassah, Prometheus, Rizpah) versus the anxiety and desperation of nonbelievers. And I especially loved seeing Hadassah through the eyes of the family she served – the sense of peace and joy she emanated was so clear. It made me wonder, “Is that what we look like? Do other people really see us that that way?” The stories were very encouraging and made me want to deepen my own faith so that I would better reflect God’s love and be that light on a hilltop for others to see.
I think the one *tiny* detail that bothered me in these books was the author’s dismissive treatment of medicine in the second volume. The way the story is written, it seems as if medical care is useless and the only true healing comes directly from prayer. As a nurse who actively works in the medical field, I understand that while God is in control, and while spiritual healing is just as important (if not more so) that physical healing, there is still a fair amount of physical healing that can and should be done! But that detail was minor and ultimately didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. I felt mollified in knowing that ancient Rome did not have the medicine we have today – prayer may in fact have been the more effective healer in those days – and also by the fact that the effectiveness of medicine wasn’t the point of the story. The point was the power of faith, and what better way to show that then with a scarred healer whose prayers bring miracles not otherwise possible?
I have more thoughts on this wonderful series, but I’ll share them next time!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.